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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

UPDATED: 7-10-20

On Friday, June 3, 2020, the Wichita City Council voted to enact a facemask ordinance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health and safety of all residents. Please read the frequently asked questions below to learn more about the ordinance and how it may pertain to you.

The City of Wichita will add to these FAQs as new information becomes available. You can also email questions and concerns to masks@wichita.gov.

You should wear a wear a mask when:

  • You're in either indoor or outdoor public spaces, including offices, shops, churches, health clubs, stores or offices, where 6 feet of safe social distance cannot be maintained;
  • You're in a healthcare setting such as hospitals, pharmacies, physician or dental offices, veterinary clinics;
  • You're using public transportation including ride shares, buses, other shared transportation;
  • You're an employee working in food service, retail sales, health care, cosmetology or massage therapy.

There are exceptions for wearing a mask:

  • Persons age five years or under; children age two years and under in particular should not wear a face covering because of the risk of suffocation;

  • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering—this includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance;

  • Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;

  • Persons who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;

  • Persons who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking, provided they maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together or are seated together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;

  • Athletes who are engaged in an organized sports activity that allows athletes to maintain a 6- foot distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity;

  • Persons who are engaged in an activity that a professional or recreational association, regulatory entity, medical association, or other public-health-oriented entity has determined cannot be safely conducted while wearing a mask or other face covering;

  • Persons engaged in a court-related proceeding held or managed by the Kansas Judiciary;

  • Persons engaged in any lawful activity during which wearing a mask or other face covering is prohibited by law.

Where can I read the City's mask ordinance?

Read the approved mask ordinance here.

When did the mask ordinance go into effect? When does it expire?

The mask ordinance went into effect on Friday, July 3rd, 2020 and will remain in effect until August 11, 2020 unless the City Council cancels or extends the ordinance. You can check upcoming City Council agenda items.

How is the City's ordinance differ from the Sedgwick County mask health order?

The Sedgwick County mask health order does not supersede or impact the City of Wichita mask ordinance. You can find the details for Sedgwick County's mask health order here.

How do I report a violation of Sedgwick County's directive?

Please contact the Sedgwick County Commissioners or the Sedgwick County Health Department. Please do not call 911.

What is the definition of a public space?

"Public space" means any indoor or outdoor space or area that is open to the public; this does not include private residential property or private offices or workspaces that are not open to the public.

What are the fines associated with violating the City of Wichita mask ordinance?

The goal of the ordinance is to educate and encourage as many residents to wear facemasks in public – not to hand out tickets. However, a person, firm, or corporation unable to demonstrate that they have and use a facemask can be in violation of the mask ordinance and face a fine of twenty five ($25.00) dollars upon a first conviction, fifty ($50.00) dollars upon a second conviction, and one hundred dollars ($100.00) dollars upon a third or subsequent conviction.

What's the proper way to wear a mask?

If you have questions about the proper way to wear a mask, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What are best practices for masks? How often should I wash or replace?

If you have questions about the proper way to maintain a washable mask, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How can I ask questions or share concerns about the mask ordinance?

Email masks@wichita.gov if you have a question or comment about the ordinance. Please do not call 911.

I can't afford a mask. Where can I get one for myself and my family?

The Wichita Police Department has received a donation of masks that will be provided to the public at no cost while supplies last. You may pick one up at one of the four Wichita Police substations.

How can I report a business or a person who is not complying with the mask mandate?

The goal of the ordinance is to encourage residents and businesses to use masks in public spaces – not to issue tickets. The Wichita Police Department will focus on education and provide masks as supplies last to encourage residents and businesses to use masks in public spaces.

We strongly discourage residents from getting into arguments with individuals or businesses that do not comply with the ordinance. Instead, model best behavior of helping to protect your health and fellow residents' health by wearing a mask appropriately.

Do not call 911 to report a violation of the ordinance. If you have a public concern, send an email to masks@wichita.gov.

Do those who meet the exempt requirements need to have proof of exemption?

No, the ordinance does not require residents to provide proof of the exemption. Simply explain that you have a health or other condition that prevents you from wearing a mask.

Do I have to wear a mask while attending church?

Yes, if you are unable to maintain six feet of social distancing at all times, masks should be worn.

Do pastors have to wear masks while preaching?

Pastors do not have to wear a mask while preaching if they can maintain six feet of social distance.

Do athletes have to wear masks when practicing or playing games?

Please check with your youth sports league or facility as there may be more specific guidelines for wearing a mask.

Athletes who can maintain a 6- foot distance from others with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity do not have to wear masks.

What about wearing of face masks at youth sports tournaments?

Athletes should socially distance or wear masks when they cannot. Parents and coaches should socially distance themselves and wear masks at all times on the sidelines.

I work in an office where the manager/owner is not requiring either employees or customers to wear a mask. What do I do?

Everyone is required to wear a mask in public places. You should wear a mask for your own health and safety and for the health of your coworkers and customers. "Public space" means any indoor or outdoor space or area that is open to the public; this does not include private residential property or private offices or workspaces that are not open to customers or public visitors.

If your manager directs you to not wear a mask, please send an email to masks@wichita.gov .

Do businesses need to enforce the new mask ordinance for their customers and clients who come to their locations?

Yes, businesses are expected to require patrons to wear masks if their place of business meets the requirements of the mask ordinance.

I own a business or store and have customers who don't want to wear a mask in my store. Do I have the right to deny a customer service if they don't wear a mask? What if they refuse to put a mask on?

Yes, the ordinance directs businesses and individuals to use a face mask in public. You have the right to deny service at your place of business to anyone who will not wear a mask in your business. We recommend avoiding verbal conflict with those who refuse to wear a mask in your store. Send an email to masks@wichita.gov if you have specific questions regarding non-compliance issues at your business.

It's a good idea to put a "Masks Required" sign on your business door so that customers are clearly aware of the City ordinance rule to all residents to wear a mask in public spaces.

My business has plastic/Plexiglas barriers installed for customer interactions, do employees still have to wear masks?

Yes, employees must wear masks when they are working in any space visited by customers or members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time.

Do employees need to wear a mask even if there are no other employees present or customers within six feet of them?

Employees should wear masks in public spaces whenever six feet of social distance cannot be maintained. However, an employee working on their own without either customers or other employees present, can work without a mask.

Do businesses face different fines than residents for infractions?

The fines are the same. A person, firm, or corporation convicted of a violation of this section may face a fine of twenty five ($25.00) dollars upon a first conviction, fifty ($50.00) dollars upon a second conviction, and one hundred dollars ($100.00) dollars upon a third or subsequent conviction.

Again, the goal of the ordinance is to educate and encourage as many residents to wear facemasks in public wherever and whenever possible – not to write tickets. However, send an email to masks@wichita.gov if you have specific concerns.

Do audience members at cultural or performing arts events have to wear masks?

Yes. Masks are required in any public space where safe social distancing isn't possible.

Have a question about face masks that we haven't answered? Send an email to masks@wichita.gov.